TOMMY KNOCKERS As Nicole Kidman told London’s Daily Mirror on Wednesday that she still doesn’t know why Tom Cruise is divorcing her, Cruise filed a $100 million defamation suit against a star of gay porn films who claimed the blame. Chad Slater, a.k.a. Kyle Bradford, alleged in an article in French magazine Actustar that he had had an ongoing affair with Cruise, and that Kidman’s walking in on them during a ”romantic encounter” prompted the marital breakup.
The suit, however, says that Cruise ”had no relationship of any kind with Kyle Bradford and does not even know him.” Cruise attorney Bert Fields told E! Online that Cruise ”is a great respecter of homosexual rights, but he’s not gay, and he’s ready to prove this in court.” Now, there’s something we’d pay to watch.
MS. JACKSON After a four year hiatus, Janet Jackson proved she’s still in control of the Billboard charts. Her ”All for You” became her fifth album to debut at No. 1 and sold some 605,000 copies, more than the combined first week totals of her previous two albums, according to SoundScan. Other strong debuts included Tim McGraw‘s ”Set This Circus Down” at No. 2 with 223,000 copies sold, and ”Open Letter” (No. 5, 93,000 sold) by Case, who shares producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis with Jackson. Squeezed into the No. 3 and No. 4 slots were last week’s top two discs: ”Now That’s What I Call Music! 6,” selling 203,000 units, and 2Pac‘s ”Until the End of Time,” with 110,000 sold. At No. 6 was Shaggy‘s ”Hotshot,” followed by Uncle Kracker‘s ”Double Wide,” Lifehouse‘s ”No Name Face,” Dido‘s ”No Angel,” and Nelly‘s ”Country Grammar.”
FIRST BABE People Magazine’s annual ”50 Most Beautiful People” issue, which hits the stands next week, is full of the usual suspects — six time listee Julia Roberts, five timer Halle Berry, four timer George Clooney, three timer Catherine Zeta-Jones (who spent Wednesday denying last week’s story in London’s Sun tabloid that she’d had an eye job) — and some unusual ones, notably, First Lady Laura Bush. She tells the magazine that her ”less is more” beauty regimen extends to the contents of her handbag: ”Just like every other woman in America, I carry a lipstick, a hairbrush, and Altoids.” (Another White House frequenter, Monica Lewinsky, was also famously fond of Altoids, but for a very different reason.)
Other potentially surprising ”Beautiful People” selections include zaftig singer Jill Scott, Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, and Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. (People is also owned by AOL Time Warner, EW.com’s parent company) For more of the list, visit People.com.
HEALTH WATCH Ryan O’Neal, who famously watched screen wife Ali MacGraw die of a blood ailment in ”Love Story,” is being treated for chronic leukemia. The 60 year old actor, who recently finished shooting the romantic comedy ”People I Know” with Al Pacino and Kim Basinger, expects to beat the disease, his spokeswoman Dede Binder told Reuters. ”It is treatable, and he is doing very well,” she said.
Supermodel Niki Taylor‘s injuries from last weekend’s car crash remain ”life threatening,” her doctor told ABC News yesterday. Dr. Jeffrey Nicholas said it could be weeks before she is out of danger. Taylor, who was a passenger in the car driven by her friend, James Renegar, suffered severe liver and abdominal injuries when Renegar plowed into a utility pole as he was reaching for a cellphone. She is being treated at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital.
TURF WAR A certain cable crime family has muscled into the broadcast networks’ Sunday night territory, and NBC president Robert Wright is going to the mattresses. He sent a form letter to 50 NBC executives and TV industry folk, suggesting that ”The Sopranos” has an unfair advantage because ”it is a show we could not and would not air on NBC because of the violence, language and nudity.” Along with the letter, Wright sent a tape of the recent ”Sopranos” episode in which Ralph (Joe Pantoliano) beats his pregnant stripper girlfriend to death. Wright said he wasn’t criticizing the show, only seeking input on how the network might respond to the HBO show’s envelope pushing content in programming NBC’s upcoming season. Of course, Wright has his own team of New Jersey Hitmen, thanks to NBC’s deal with the XFL.
SOD OFF Speaking of turf wars, the Dave Matthews Band almost got into one with the University of Virginia after its April 21 concert at the school’s Scott Stadium left the field a trampled, grass free mud pit. The band has agreed to buy $42,500 worth of grass, while the university will pay the remaining $29,300 cost of replacing the field.
PRINCELING OF THE WORLD James Cameron and his fifth wife, ”Titanic” actress Suzy Amis, announced Tuesday that they welcomed a new baby four weeks ago. No name, sex, or weight was disclosed. The child is Cameron’s third.
Meanwhile, the King of the World will wait to extend his dominion over the rest of the solar system. NASA chief Daniel Goldin praised Cameron for putting on hold his plan to launch himself into orbit to shoot a documentary — unlike current space tourist Dennis Tito, whom Goldin blasted for paying Russia $20 million for a seat on its Soyuz rocket before NASA has had a chance to set safety standards for civilian space travel.
DRUG DOCKET ”West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms, marijuana, and crack cocaine at a hearing in Burbank on Wednesday. His case was then continued until June 4, when the court will determine whether he’s eligible for a drug diversion program instead of a possible three years in prison. Sorkin, who underwent treatment for freebase cocaine addiction in 1995, was arrested at a Burbank airport on April 15 when security staff said they found drugs in his luggage.
TALKING, NOT WALKING No plumes of white smoke yet from the Writers Guild of America building. Negotiations continued between the WGA and producers for 13 hours yesterday, following a 17 hour session Tuesday, and will resume again today. Though the writers’ contract expired early Wednesday morning, the union has yet to approve a strike, an action that could, if followed by an actors’ strike, shut down most Hollywood production for months.